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Business and Tech Education

Could Failure Be the Surprising Secret to Business Success?

Photo: Courtesy of Christian Wiediger

Peter Faricy

Vice President, Amazon Marketplace

Being an entrepreneur is not an easy job. Between the competition, the expense and the stress, it’s no wonder so many fail without getting a fair shot. 

You are in good company. Even the big wigs, the heavy hitters, the multi-million-(or billion)-dollar companies have failed as well. After all, like the old adage goes — it takes 20 years to become an overnight success.

Third time’s a charm

Take Amazon for instance. Amazon Marketplace is where businesses from around the world sell their wares. In 2016 alone, Amazon fulfilled two billion deliveries worldwide on behalf of its small business partners. Peter Faricy, VP of Amazon Marketplace, says this about failure: “Without failure, we wouldn’t have gotten to where we are.” As they say, third time’s a charm.

Amazon Marketplace failed. It failed two times, in fact, before becoming the success it is today. Their first attempt, zShops, failed. The second iteration, Auctions, also failed. Instead of licking their wounds, the creators got up and built up again. With each failure, they learned some valuable lessons. They learned to speak to their ideal customers, and they learned from their mistakes. Then came Amazon Marketplace. Success. In a big way.

Reflect and improve

And that is the secret to success. Learning from your failures. Faricy’s advice is simple: “Continue to have the courage and conviction and instinct to trust yourself — use your failure to help yourself succeed.”

Just because they have succeeded doesn’t mean they’ve stop trying to improve either. Faricy talks to at least one Amazon Exclusive client each week. Learning from your ideal clients — including what they want and how they want it — is imperative to continued growth and success.

Even for small businesses, it’s important to have an open dialogue with your target market and grow with them.

So if you fail, remember, you’re in great company. And in the words of the Great One (a.k.a. Wayne Gretzky), “You miss 100% of the shots you never take.”

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